Ex-PBS chief giving TV museum a makeover

For one thing, it doesn’t claim to be a “museum” anymore, thanks to Pat Mitchell, former PBS c.e.o. and current head of the recently renamed Paley Center for Media. Mitchell left PBS last year to lead the institution known as the Museum of Television and Radio until Mitchell changed its name, Newsday reports. She made the switch because she wants the center to embrace online media as well. Mitchell told the paper she left PBS because she was exhausted by the demands of the job.

Most Hyundais, Fords, Chrysler cars will have satellite radios installed

Sirius Satellite Radio said today that Ford Motor Co. aims to put its receivers in 70 percent of 2009 Fords and Mercurys, not to mention all Lincolns and Range Rovers. Last summer Chrysler Group made the same prediction for the 2008 year; the radios are standard in Sebrings and some other mid-priced lines. They’re standard on some sporty VWs, too. XM Satellite Radio receivers, meanwhile, will be standard on 95 percent of Hyundais this model year and on all Buicks, Hummers and Saabs this year, and optional on some Toyota Corollas next year, XM said.For holiday giving, Sirius is selling an iPod-size $149.99 radio that receives its signal from either satellite or the Internet (via WiFi) or plays recorded broadcasts or MP3s.

Meet the ones who plant and herd your food

Six pubradio stations and other producing organizations will collaborate on a CPB-funded five-part doc, The Farm, headed by Executive Producer Wes Horner, who has led numerous series including NPR’s Performance Today, and John Biewen, correspondent and producer with APM’s American RadioWorks for eight years. Over the course of a farm year, the team will introduce listeners to the members of five farm families who plant, harvest and herd their food. Participants include WFCR in Amherst, Mass.; WBHM in Birmingham, Ala.; Iowa Public Radio; Native Public Media and KUYI on Arizona’s Hopi reservation; Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, Calif.; and Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, where Biewen is based. The host will be author and magazine editor William MacLeish, who presented a Nova documentary based on his book Encounters with the Blue God in 1989.

Arbitron delays people meter roll-out

Arbitron announced late yesterday that it has postponed roll-out of its portable people meter ratings system in New York and other top markets. The company’s official announcement is here and a report in today’s New York Times is here. Also, reporting by Associated Press, MediaDaily News and the Wall Street Journal.

PBS announces numbers on The War

37.8 million people tuned in to watch all or part of Ken Burns’ series The War, announced PBS in a press release yesterday. The series won a 4.7 national average household rating, and on average, 7 million people were watching the saga at any given time.

PBS tech chief: Satellite transfer in second phase

PBS is in the middle of transitioning to server-based distribution, which is the second phase of its switch to the Next Generation Interconnection System, John McCoskey, PBS c.t.o, said in this edition (MP3) of Television Broadcast’s Two-Minute Drill. Stations have mostly completed the hardware build-out, which was the first phase, but will have to point their antennas toward new satellites next year, McCoskey said. Only 19 pubTV stations have yet to switch to digital broadcasting but those will be ready to go by the February 2009 analog shut-off, he said. PBS is now shifting its DTV focus to consumer awareness efforts.

Old Sesame Street a “frightening glimpse of simpler times”

“The old Sesame Street is not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for softies born since 1998, when the chipper ‘Elmo’s World’ started. Anyone who considers bull markets normal, extracurricular activities sacrosanct and New York a tidy, governable place — well, the original Sesame Street might hurt your feelings,” writes Virginian Heffernan in a New York Times Magazine article about how old school Sesame Street episodes, now available on DVD, “may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child” and are a “frightening glimpse of simpler times.”

San Diego city attorney withdraws KPBS records request

San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre has withdrawn his request for KPBS records about programming decisions and its relationship with The San Diego Union-Tribune. “Aguirre made the decision after speaking with a First Amendment expert who advised him that his requests were inappropriate for a government official,” reports the Union-Tribune. The investigation began in August after KPBS cancelled its local public affairs program Full Focus. Aguirre has maintained that the public needs to know why the show was cancelled. He accused the Union-Tribune, which he called a “conservative establishment newspaper,” of influencing KPBS editorial content and decision-making, a charge the station has denied.